Conquering Product-Led Transformation: Strategies for Scaling in Large Enterprises


A rapid scaling journey for a product organization is no small feat. The larger the company, the more significant the challenges become: team cohesion, strategic direction, and maintaining alignment throughout the organization.

Recently, the CPO Series had the pleasure of hosting Rob Seidman, Chief Product Officer for the POS and lending division at U.S. Bank. With a career span of 25 years in the banking sector, Rob shared insights from his journey and strategies for conquering product-led transformation in large enterprises.

Rob gave us an insider’s perspective on Avvance, the BNPL product at U.S. Bank, how he took it from planning to development to post-launch, and how a tool like Dragonboat is essential for CPOs to maintain alignment throughout the various phases.

Strategic MVP Deployment

There are many approaches to delivering Minimum Viable Products (MVPs) and enhancing consumer experiences. In Rob’s B2B2C world, it is important to strike a balance between merchant and consumer needs.

“This is the third time I’ve done 0 to 1. Everybody knows what the goal is and everybody’s aligned to one single goal, which is launch.”

– Rob Seidman, CPO of U.S. Bank

During the 0 to 1 phase of the Avvance product, Rob focused on launching the MVP as the primary goal. Along the way, the team is faced with trade-offs and decisions that require strong leadership, excellent communication, and precise tools. These could relate to user experience, launch timelines, the total scope of the launch, and many other aspects of the work.

“We link Jira to Dragonboat for two-way communication, and robust visualization tools.”

– Rob Seidman, CPO of U.S. Bank

With 3,500 epics to be coded in 9 months by 30 different engineering teams, Rob had to prioritize alignment around the launch goals. One way he kept his team marching towards the right goals was a weekly communication, demonstrating how far they’ve come, what’s next, and which competitors are out there to consider. Dragonboat served as a source of truth, what Rob likes to call his “Bible”, to deliver the right information instantly.

The Post-Launch Shift

The true test of a product-led organization begins post-launch, which Rob argues starts with a mental shift. It is hard to reset to a different set of goals after monumental efforts over 9-12 months working in the same direction.

So, to usher in a change from a singular-focused launch mindset to one of growth and improvement, Rob changed his weekly team status reports to monthly communications about the results their product was achieving in the real world.

In parallel, Rob’s team focused on doing 3 things to ensure their pivot was crisp:

  • They changed their OKRs immediately post-launch, setting business metrics as their key results. Dragonboat was the tool to get this delivered to the team and communicated broadly. All work was synced two-ways from and to Jira, to leverage Dragonboat’s superior visualization tools. From here, the team regularly confirmed all objectives were covered sufficiently, and nothing was being done without contributing to an objective.

“Dragonboat is our Bible. If it doesn’t exist in Dragonboat, it does not exist. This is how we deliver value to the user and the business.”

– Rob Seidman, CPO of U.S. Bank

  • They set accountability at every level, from Group President to Associate Product Managers. To deliver the promised user experience, the team had to balance existing roadmap commitments with the feedback and reviews coming in from the outside.

“I inspect our progress in Dragonboat daily, ensuring that our efforts are consistently aligned with our key results and that we’re making predictable, meaningful progress.”

– Rob Seidman, CPO of U.S. Bank

To do this, Rob used Dragonboat daily by pulling up the Outcome Module, confirming that work driving against the KRs was progressing. Whereas the key results would change quarterly, Rob would report on the continuous grooming effort weekly to keep everyone aligned.

Dragonboat Outcome Module Example
The Dragonboat Outcome Module helps product leaders hone in on the right set of goals, their health, and progress.
  • They ensured their growth trajectory remained on course by meticulously reviewing the allocation reporting in Dragonboat. This tool enabled Rob to assess in real-time whether the team’s efforts were proportionately focused on the most critical objectives for users and the business. By consistently monitoring this reporting, he verified that the actual work matched the planned efforts, maintaining alignment with their overarching growth goals.
Allocation Report Example
Dragonboat Allocation report enables comparison between Planned and Reported Allocation for your product portfolio.

Metrics that Drive Success

Determining which metrics to track is a strategic endeavor that begins with a solid product strategy. Based on his extensive experience, Rob follows a 2-pronged approach for setting the measurement strategy:

  1. Establish pillars for the user experience. Rob’s team established metrics that ensured the user experience was fast, easy to use, and transparent.
  2. Ensure your metrics can demonstrate that the product results are delivering to the business case. In Rob’s case, the winning result was a commensurate share of the check-out with the opportunity for a given merchant.

Agile Mindset in a Corporate Structure

Injecting agility into a large, established enterprise is a huge challenge. In Rob’s world, the regulatory and procedural confines of a bank are necessary when the penalties for being wrong are steep.

Despite this, Rob advises that Product Leaders find a way to match the ways teams work together. To maintain momentum for his product, Rob had to demonstrate the need for this to the U.S. Bank Legal, Risk, and Compliance teams. By asking for smaller increments of their time more frequently, he was able to convince them to adopt a more agile workflow to match his team and help the project succeed.

Fostering a Cohesive Team Culture

The transformation journey is as much about people as it is about products. Rob’s secret to a cohesive team culture that survives scaling and major transformations starts from the start – with hiring the team. Being on Rob’s team means two things:

  1. You have an attitude of “we are all in this together”. In other words, everyone is accountable for each aspect of the product.
  2. You have the expertise to deliver the goods. You must represent the user well so that the product mission is met.

Key Lessons from Rob Seidman’s Experience

Rob Seidman’s path with U.S. Bank’s BNPL product, Avvance, shows clear steps for Product Leaders tackling big transformations. Here are the standout lessons:

MVP Development is about choices

Moving a product from idea to launch, from 0 to 1, means making tough decisions. What’s crucial for the MVP, and what can wait? This stage lays the foundation for what comes next.

Shift to growth right after launch

After launching, the focus must quickly turn to growth. Reset your OKRs, align your team around these goals, and check in on progress regularly.

Embrace fast failures to foster agility

While failure in banking is generally not an option, identifying areas where you can quickly learn from mistakes is key. This approach helps build an agile mindset, showing that fast failures can lead to quick successes.

Leverage tools like Dragonboat

Using Dragonboat helped Rob drive alignment from top-level goals to underlying feature delivery, and brought accountability at each level of his product organization.

Dragonboat’s product portfolio management platform is tailor-made to help leaders like Rob Seidman chart the path for their teams pre and post-launch. For those interested in seeing how Dragonboat can directly support the implementation of these practices, we invite you to join our next group demo. Don’t miss out – Secure your spot now.

Ready to accelerate product outcomes?

Alisa Vaz

With over a decade in global product teams across Canada, China, Spain, Germany, Switzerland, and the USA, Alisa is a seasoned Product Manager with a passion for crafting tools to elevate product organizations. As a Senior Product Manager at Dragonboat, she is committed to empowering product leaders to drive business results.
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